Tuesday, November 4, 2008

NFL Mid-Term Rookie Grades

I have been watching some rookies mainly this year. I like watching the progression of overall skills. I decided to grade a few over my viewings of the ones I feel it fair to grade.

I start with the team having the guy I had picked for Rookie Of The Year:


DALLAS COWBOYS


Felix Jones, RB - I told you all before the draft he was a Cowboy. So far, it looks like I may only get half of my prediction right here. Felix has been superb. A threat every time he touches the ball, he hasn't gotten it very much due to bad play calling. The season isn't over, so he could start to get the ball. I think his lack of use is far from his fault, even after his injury.

GRADE : A


Mike Jenkins, CB - He is truly a rookie, but he has shown glimpses of being the guy down the road. He just needs more seasoning.

GRADE : C


Orlando Scandrick, CB - He was ahead of Jenkins on the depth chart at one time. He was a steal where the 'Boys got him, and he has the ability to last long in the NFL.

GRADE : B -



SAINT LOUIS RAMS

Donnie Avery, WR - I told you all that he was the top WR in the draft, and he is now showing why. His future is so bright, he needs shades.

GRADE : B +


Chris Long, DE - His motor is relentless. He has a ways to go, but he is showing his worth weekly.

GRADE : B -



NEW YORK JETS

Vern Gholston, LB - The Jets knew he was a project when they got him. He has 1 tackle so far, and appears to be a year or 2 away from playing more.

GRADE : D


Dustin Keller, TE - He still isn't getting enough passes his way, but his future appears very bright.

GRADE : C


Dwight Lowery, CB - He has been very solid, for the most part, as an extra DB. He has been a steal so far for the Jets.

GRADE : B +




TENNESSEE TITANS

Chris Johnson, RB - One of the top rookies in the league right now, he is a big reason the Titans are undefeated at this time.

GRADE : A +


TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Dexter Jackson, WR - He lost his return duties recently, and appears to have far to go.

GRADE : D


Aqib Talib, CB - He leads his team in INT's as an extra DB. He is showing his mettle early.

GRADE : B +



PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

DeSean Jackson, WR - He is already a top option, and is one of the best rookies in the game.

GRADE : A +

Quintin Demps, S - He is being brought along slowly, but showed in preseason that he has a future.

GRADE : C



OAKLAND RAIDERS

Darren McFadden, RB - He has split carries in between injuries, so his up and down season is hard to judge thus far. He has been very effective when he does get the ball.

GRADE : B


Chaz Schilens, WR - The Raiders stole him near the bottom of the draft. He has a lot to learn, but the skill set is evident.

GRADE : C

Tyvon Branch, DB - He is versatile, but buried in the depth chart for now.

GRADE : C


SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Red Bryant, DT - This run stuffer is slowly working his way into the rotation.

GRADE : C -


Lawrence Jackson, DE - He has 2 sacks so far, while being rotated. He needs to improve his run stopping skills, and motor. With Kerney out, the spotlight is on him now.

GRADE : C

John Carlson, TE - He is on a 52 catch pace so far this year, and is showing his worth.

GRADE : A



BUFFALO BILLS

Leodis McKelvin, CB - He has a ways to go as a DB, and has mainly returned kicks thus far. His abilities are evident.

GRADE : B


James Hardy, WR - He has yet to get into the rotation consistently, but is a tall target.

GRADE : D +



DENVER BRONCOS

Eddie Royal, WR - Got off to a hot start, and has battled injury recently. He has been a nice addition so far.

GRADE : A

Ryan Clady, OT - He has been excellent mostly. He is probably a perennial Pro Bowler down the road, if not now.

GRADE : A +

Peyton Hillis, FB - He is a very good blocker, and should help Denver for years.

GRADE : B +

Jack Williams, CB - Small and fast, he may get a lot of work while Champ Baily is out.

GRADE : C -

Brett Kern, P - Booming 48 yards per punt, with a nice 39 net thus far in the thin air.

GRADE : A

Spencer Larsen, FB - Drafted as a LB, he was moved to FB. He is a special teams leader as well.

GRADE : B -



CAROLINA PANTHERS

Jonathan Stewart, RB - He has been good when called on. He splits carries so far, but has a nose for the end zone.

GRADE : A


Jeff Otah, OT - Has been solid day one, and should be a vital member of the Panthers for years.

GRADE : A

Charles Godfrey, FS - Has a sack, and tied for 7th in tackles on the team. Has been pretty steady.

GRADE : A



CINCINNATI BENGALS

Jerome Simpson & Andre Caldwell, WR - Both have barely seen the ball, and will need more seasoning.

GRADE : D

Pat Sims, DT - After missing the first 5 games with turf toe, Pat has 19 tackles in just 3 games. Easily the Bengals best rookie so far.

GRADE : B +




JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Derrick Harvey, DE - He obviously was hurt by his hold out, and is being spotted so far. He has a ways to go, but is a specimen.

GRADE : D

Quintin Groves, DE - Has a pair of sacks, and is making his way into the passing down situations. Appears to have a nice future.

GRADE : B -

Brian Witherspoon, CB - He mainly returns kicks, and had been excellent. Averages 27 yards per kickoff return, and 12 yards per punt return thus far.

GRADE : A +




PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Rashard Mendenhall, RB - Injured early on, and out for the year.

INCOMPLETE

Limas Sweed, WR - Should see more balls now, after an up and down first half season.

GRADE : C -


GREEN BAY PACKERS

Jordy Nelson, WR - He has been very steady, and should help the Pack for years.

GRADE : A

Jeremey Thompson, DE - After being inactive for the first part of the season, is getting on the field more. May help more as the season goes on.

GRADE : C -




DETROIT LIONS

Gosder Cherilus, OT - Still making the same bad mental mistakes he made in college. Was handed the starting job, lost it, now has it back. So far has not looked very good and is wildly inconsistent.

GRADE : D -


Kevin Smith, RB - Splits carries now, but has shown glimpses. Leads the team in rushing, and has an impressive 4.8 yards per carry so far. Has a bright future.

GRADE : A

Jerome Felton, FB - Is a good lead blocker, and has soft hands. As the offense, and he, matures, Jerome should have a bigger role.

GRADE : B


Jordon Dizon, LB - Is buried on the bench, and appears to need seasoning. More time is needed for a fair assessment.

GRADE : D

Cliff Avril, LB - Getting on the field more and more weekly. Had his 1st sack last week, creating a fumble.

GRADE : C +



SAN FRANCISCO

Kentwan Balmer, DT - Being brought along slowly, and has yet to make any impact.

GRADE : D


Josh Morgan, WR - Has now claimed a starting job. Has a lot to learn, but provides the Niners their best deep threat.

GRADE : B +





SAN DIEGO

Antoine Cason, CB - Second on team in INT's, and 7th in tackles. All done as an extra DB. Very impressive, to say the least.

GRADE : B +

Mike Tolbert, FB - Won the starters job as an undrafted free agent, and has been solid in every area.

GRADE : A





NEW ENGLAND

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB - He is getting playing time lately, due to an injured RB's corps, and has been positive.

GRADE : B


Matthew Slater, WR - Returns a few kicks, and makes his biggest impact covering kicks.

GRADE : C


Jerod Mayo, LB - Leads the teams is tackles, and appears on his way to winning Defensive Rookie Of The Year Award honors.

GRADE : A +


Jonathan Wilhite, CB - He has seen some extra DB work, and may help more next year.

GRADE : C




NEW ORLEANS

Sedrick Ellis, DT - Hard grade, because he has only been healthy to play 5 games, and be part of a rotation. Has a sack and 10 tackles thus far. Incomplete may be most fair for now.

Jo Lon Dunbar, LB - He gets spotted, but he is 4th on the Saints LC corps in tackles. He may help more as the season goes on too.

GRADE : C +




HOUSTON TEXANS

Steve Slaton, RB - Leads the Texans in rushing yards, rushing attempts, rushing touchdowns, total TD's, and is second in total yards, and third in receptions. Maybe the most under rated rookie in the NFL now, and the biggest steal in the draft.

GRADE : A +


Duane Brown, OT - Still has much to learn, but the ability is easily seen. Factor in OL Coach Alex Gibbs, and Brown has a bright future.

GRADE : B +




ARIZONA CARDINALS

Tim Hightower, RB - Rumor is he will soon replace James as the primary rusher. Leads the Cards in rushing TD's, and is second on the team in overall TD's.

GRADE : A +


Calais Campbell, DE - Gets rotated in on occasion, and has helped on special teams. Should get more work in as the year progresses.

GRADE : C

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB - Being brought along slowly as an extra DB. Has already shown he loves to hit and mix it up in traffic.

GRADE : C



MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Tyrell Johnson, S - Eighth in total tackles for the team, he has been a big help to the Vikes thus far.

GRADE : B +


Hussain Abdullah, S - Spotted as an extra DB, while mostly helping via special teams. He has helped with depth after injuries.

GRADE : C



CHICAGO BEARS

Matt Forte, RB - May be the front runner for NFC Rookie Of The Year. May be the most important member of the Bears offense already. Leads the team in every rushing category, and is truly a workhorse.

GRADE : A +


Marcus Harrison, DT - Shows excellent abilities, while being spotted in the rotation. He has 2 sacks already, and shows that he could be a very important component in the stretch run.

GRADE : B




CLEVELAND BROWNS

Alex Hall, LB - Second on the team in sacks, and tied for first in forced fumbles despite being spotted. Is learning from Willie McGinest, and should step right in next year as his replacement.

GRADE : B





BALTIMORE RAVENS

Joe Flacco, QB - If even NFL Legend Ozzie Newsome saw Flacco doing this well this early, he should be prodded for more important predictions. Flacco obviously has a big learning curve ahead of him, but he has been solid for the most part. He has even been spectacular on quite a few occasions.

GRADE : A +


Ray Rice, RB - Rice has been pretty solid. The Ravens may be using him more than they expected this early. Averages over 4.8 yards per carry.

GRADE : A




WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Chris Horton, S - A real find. Already has won a Player of the Week Award. Has bailed the 'Skins out of countless plays. 3rd on the team in tackles.

GRADE : A +


Durant Brooks, P - Flop, and a wasted pick. Now unemployed. Punters are the type to bounce back, so do not be shocked to see him doing well in another uniform somewhere down the road.

GRADE : F

Devin Thomas, WR - Has a lot to learn, and is being brought along slowly. Has shown a few brief flashes of ability.

GRADE : C

Fred Davis, TE & Malcolm Kelly, WR - Look like wasted picks thus far (as predicted).

GRADE : F




MIAMI DOLPHINS

Davone Bess, WR - Mainly used as a return specialist, but is 5th on the team in receptions as well. Has been a nice addition.

GRADE : B


Jake Long, OT - Has been "as advertised" thus far. He should be the 'Phins anchor for many years.

GRADE : A +

Kendall Langford, DE - Has a few sacks, and has shown to be stout in run support. Part of a young pair of DE's that have bright futures.

GRADE : B +

Phillip Merling, DE - Has a sack, and appears to be Langford's bookend for many years.

GRADE : C +


Dan Carpenter, K - Has been one of the very best kickers in the NFL thus far. At this pace, he should be a Pro Bowler.

GRADE : A +





ATLANTA

Matt Ryan, QB - I admit I was way off on him. He has easily grasped the pro game, and shows exceptional talent and intelligence. The Falcons are the surprise team of the NFL, and Ryan is a big part as to why.

GRADE : A +


Harry Douglass, WR - He is coming along very nicely. It appears he may soon bookend White as the Falcons WR's for the next few years.

GRADE : B+


Chris Lofton, LB - His is energetic, and infectious. He is coming along more each week, and has stabilized the LB corps.

GRADE : A


Chevis Jackson, CB - He is being spotted, and has done fairly well thus far.

GRADE : C


Sam Baker, OT - He had done well in the 5 games he started. He has been injured, and now seems to be out for a long time.

GRADE : B



KANSAS CITY

Jamaal Charles, RB - He was returning kickoffs at the beginning of the season, and is now coming off a career best game. He may still be 3rd in the depth chart, but the may soon vault his way higher if his production stays consistent.

GRADE : B +


Branden Albert, OT - He has a ways to go, but he has shown why many think he has what it takes to be a Left Tackle.

GRADE : C +



Brandon Carr, CB - Herm Edwards deserves a nod for this kid being stolen in the 5th round. He has a definite upside, and is doing well learning under fire. Has swiped 2 balls thus far.

GRADE : A


Brandon Flowers, CB - The Chiefs other starting CB. He is solid in run support, and also has 2 picks and a TD. The Chiefs appear to have a fine set of CB's for many years ahead.

GRADE : A


Glenn Dorsey, DT - He is still coming along. Dorsey has shown flashes of his good run stopping ability.

GRADE : C



DaJuan Morgan, S - He is mainly being spotted on extra DB packages on rare occasion. He has some learning to do after missing time in college due to injury, but the skill set is there.

GRADE : C -



Brad Cottram, TE - Brad is learning from Gonzo, and has 5 catches thus far. The hope is that he is the heir apparent.

GRADE : C



Maurice Leggett, CB - Was called on last week after a hamstring injury to Flowers. Responded with 7 tackles and a ball defended.

GRADE : C




Dantrell Savage, RB - Excelling as a kick returner with an average of over 25 yards. Has now taken on the punt return duties.

GRADE : B



Mike Cox, FB - Shows good lead blocking ability, and hasn't been asked to do more yet.

GRADE : B


Conner Barth, K - Has taken over the job recently, and has yet to miss.

GRADE : B



INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Eric Foster, DT - Has shown good run support. One of those quick and undersized Colt defensive linemen.

GRADE : B



Steve Justice, C - Has good skills, and even started a game. Is learning behind an All Pro, so he will be given time to develop.

GRADE : B



Mike Pollack, G - Has started 5 games, and hasn't given up a sack. He was a great draft pick, and appears to have long time starter written all over him.

GRADE : B


Jamie Richard, G - Has started in 5 of the 8 games he has played. Has not allowed a sack, and it appears he will team up with Pollack and Justice as the Colts future.

GRADE : B +


Tom Santi, TE - Has 10 catches and a TD in limited time. Has shown a nice ability to find the seams and sit down in them.

GRADE : C


Pierre Garcon, WR - Used mainly as a kickoff returner, he obviously has good athleticism.

GRADE : C




NEW YORK GIANTS

Kenny Phillips, S - He has stepped in quickly. He is 6th on the team in tackles. His pick was certainly the right one for the Big Blue.

GRADE : A



Bryan Kehl, LB - Being brought along smartly, but he has certainly made an impact. He is another of the G-mens steals in the draft.

GRADE : B

3 comments:

CK0712™ said...

GREAT POST!

i can't argue with a one of those except sweed. the steelers need to give this kid some more playing time!
maybe then his grade will go up!!

Lester's Legends said...

amazing job. It's no surprise the teams that drafted well are doing well this year for the most part and vice vesa.

tcp said...

I hate that Mendenhall got hurt so early and we have no way to judge his progression this season. I think he will fit in nicely with the Steelers if he can get healthy though.

You are right about Slaton being the steal of the draft, and he was the steal in my fantasy draft as well.